View of Transylvania mountains

Brasov: Exploring the Crown Jewel Transylvania in Romania

Want to dive into the heart of Transylvania? Trust us, the best way to do it is by car. That’s exactly how we embarked on our adventure. We set off from Greece, made a pit stop at the breathtaking Matka canyon in North Macedonia, and soaked in the vibrant vibes of Bucharest, Romania’s stunning capital, for three days. Then, it was time to hit the road to Brasov, a true jewel in the crown of Romania’s Transylvania.

Brasov mountain sign with bold letters against a scenic backdrop in Transylvania, Romania
The iconic ‘BRASOV’ sign, a majestic welcome to the heart of Transylvania.

Now, let us paint a picture of Brasov for you. Home to about 270,000 residents, this charming city is a mere 187 kilometers from Bucharest. As you glide into the historical heart of Brasov, you’ll be struck by its rich tapestry of history. It’s a place shaped significantly by German settlers, who were brought in by Hungarian kings to mine and cultivate the Transylvanian lands. Every corner of Brasov whispers tales of the past, inviting you to listen.

Piata Sfatului, bustling central square in Brasov, surrounded by historic buildings
Strolling through Brasov’s rainbow of houses – a colorful journey in Transylvania.

Back in 1235, Brasov was known as Corona, a name that evolved over the years. The city’s moniker was inspired by the nearby river Birsa, which in Turkish, ‘barasu’, translates to ‘white water’. Coupled with the Serbian suffix ‘-ov’, it eventually transformed into the name Brasov we know today.

Should you wisely choose to explore this splendid Transylvanian city, don’t miss out on our post about the best places to stay in Brasov! It’s your perfect guide to finding a cozy spot in this historical gem.

1. Start Your Brasov Adventure at Piata Sfatului in the Heart of Council Square

Piata Sfatului Council Square of Brasov in Romania
The lively Piata Sfatului, beating heart of Brasov’s Council Square.

Whenever we visit a new place, particularly a city like Brasov in Transylvania, Romania, our first step is always to slip into our comfiest walking shoes and wander. In Brasov, our adventure began at Piata Sfatului, the historical heart of the city, crowned by the stunning 13th-century clock tower.

As you stroll through the streets, you’ll be enveloped by the medieval charm of a city that’s seamlessly embraced modernity. Picture chic shops that perfectly blend with the ancient city’s character. Imagine sipping a takeaway coffee on a bench, or discovering one of the many quaint coffee shops, often tucked away in the narrow alleys flanking the pedestrian zone. It’s the perfect way to experience the array of things to do in Brasov!

2. Discover the Historic Biserica Neagra, the Iconic Black Church of Brasov

The Black Church dedicated to Santa Maria was built in the 14th century. It is one of the very rare gothic buildings in Romania and the most important place of Lutheran places of worship in the area.

A very spooky story, or let’s say a myth, is hidden behind the walls of the Black church. It talks about a German boy that was irritating the Bulgarian workers during the construction of the church. One of them pushed the boy from the church tower and he hide its corpse in the church.

Biserica Neagra, the Black Church, an architectural landmark in Brasov, Romania
The Biserica Neagra: A testament to Brasov’s rich history and culture

3. Wander Down Strada Sforii, One of Europe’s Narrowest Streets, in Brasov

In the beautiful city of Brasov in Transylvania, Romania, you’ll find a very special street called Strada Sforii (click here for directions). Known as one of the narrowest streets in Europe, it’s 80 meters long and its width varies from 111 cm to 135 cm. It’s not just any ordinary street; it has a lot of history behind it.

Strada Sforii was first mentioned way back in the 17th century. It was originally made for firefighters to move quickly through the city. Now, it’s a really interesting place for visitors in Brasov to see. Walking down this narrow street is a cool experience. It’s like walking through a part of Brasov’s history and is one of the fun things to do in Brasov. When you walk through Strada Sforii, you’re not just walking down a street, you’re really getting to feel the old times of Brasov.

Tourist Kate exploring Strada Sforii, one of Europe’s narrowest streets in Brasov
Kate in Strada Sforii, discovering the charm of narrow pathways in Brasov.

4. Explore the Majestic Peles Castle, a Royal Masterpiece in Brasov, Transylvania, Romania

Majestic view of Peles Castle, a historical royal residence near Brasov
Peles Castle: A royal masterpiece, just a stone’s throw from Brasov.

On the way to Brasov from Bucharest, you have to choose on your GPS the road that passes from Sinaia. Just 45 kilometers away from Brasov is Peles Castle. The Peles Castle construction works took place from 1873 to 1914. It was the same era that Romania got independent from the Ottoman Empire and King was Carol I of Romania. The plan of King Carol I was to build a palace that is totally unique compared to the rest of the time and that’s why he declined several architectures before the German Johannes Schultz takes the project.

The Peles Castle is a palatial alpine castle which combines several European styles along Renaissance lines. You will feel the Italian elegance, the German aesthetics and for sure you will notice the Greek sculptures of Artemis in the balcony. The total cost of Peles Castle was approximately 110 million euros while people of many different nationalities contributed to the project. German, Italians, Romanians, Gypsies, Greeks, Albanians, Polish, and Chech were some of them.

5. Venture to Bran Castle, The Legendary Home of Dracula, Near Brasov

Entrance of Bran Castle, the legendary Dracula's Castle near Brasov, Romania
The gateway to mystery: Entering Bran Castle, a stone’s journey from Brasov

Just a short 30-kilometer drive from Brasov in Transylvania, Romania, you’ll find Bran Castle, often called Dracula’s Castle. Although it’s not certain that Dracula was ever there, the castle is still worth visiting for its interesting history. It was important in the past because it controlled the route between Transylvania and Wallachia.

Nowadays, Bran Castle is one of Romania’s most popular places to see. It looks like something out of a medieval movie, and inside, it’s like a museum that’s still alive.

View of the pass to Transylvania from Bran Castle, a strategic historical route
From Bran Castle’s perspective: The pass to Transylvania, steeped in history.
Surveillance window in Bran Castle overlooking the strategic pass to Transylvania
A window into the past: Keeping watch over Transylvania’s pass from Bran Castle.
Interior view of Bran Castle, showcasing the historical architecture near Brasov
Inside Bran Castle: A peek into the historic chambers, close to Brasov.

Right outside the castle, there’s a market where you can try some tasty local sausages and cheeses – they’re really good!

Traditional sausages being sold outside Bran Castle, a culinary delight in Romania
Savoring traditional sausages just outside Bran Castle – A taste of local flavors
Selection of traditional Romanian cheese for sale outside Bran Castle
Cheese, please! Sampling traditional Romanian cheese near Bran Castle.

Visiting Bran Castle with a tour guide is a great idea. They can tell you all about the castle’s history and make sure you see everything important. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Brasov.

Visit the Rasnov Fortress, Standing Guard Over Brasov and Transylvania in Romania

The historic Rasnov Fortress, a defensive bastion near Brasov, Romania
Rasnov Fortress: A sentinel of history, guarding the realms of Brasov.

Romania has many castles, and one of them is the Rasnov Fortress. This castle used to protect the city of Brasov and the villages in Transylvania from attacks coming through the Bran pass. People think there’s a big treasure hidden inside, and if you talk to the local people, especially the older ones, they’ll have lots of stories to tell you.

When you get to the base of the Fortress, you need to buy a ticket. Then, you can choose to either walk up to the Fortress or take a ride on a tractor! It’s a fun and interesting place to visit near Brasov.

7. Taste the Sweetness of Kurtos Kalacs, a Brasov Culinary Delight

Before you leave Brasov, you absolutely must try a sweet treat called Kurtoskalacs. It’s hard to describe just how tasty it is, but it’s really delicious! This sweet is a must-try, and you’ll probably remember its yummy flavor long after your trip.

Don’t miss the chance to taste this delightful treat while in Brasov, Transylvania, Romania – it’s an experience you won’t regret. And if you happen to miss it there, you can also find it in Prague!

Canteen selling Kurtos Kalacs, a traditional sweet treat in Brasov, Romania
A sweet stop for Kurtos Kalacs – the irresistible twist of Brasov’s cuisine.

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